Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creatz, in looking at poor reviews and poorer retail figures for Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, has stated that the only prayer Activision has of saving the franchise is dealing with the enemy: talking to Viacom and either merging with or buying the Rock Band franchise.
“We believe Activision’s best option at this point would be to approach Viacom with idea of (re)merging the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises through a sale or joint venture agreement… despite an attempt to renew interest in the Guitar Hero franchise with new gameplay options and an epic track from Rush, the music genre appears headed for a round-trip back to where it stood prior to the explosion of the Guitar Hero phenomenon back in 2006-07.”
Mr. Creatz adds insult to injury, saying that the only reason this won’t affect Activision is because the music genre has become “immaterial” to investors. In other words, Call of Duty has made it so that Guitar Hero can suck all it want.
Activision’s done it: they’ve cratered the music game genre. They only have themselves to blame, not only for flooding the market with derivative titles, but also for letting Harmonix get away in the first place. Now, MTV Games (Viacom’s subsidiary) is in a position of strength; they have a series that has a better overall reputation, better review scores, better options for gamers, and best of all, doesn’t shove two games a year down gamers’ throats. It’s a better overall game. What’s going to be sad is that sales for Rock Band 3 will probably be hurt by the damage that Activision’s done to the entire industry.
Regardless, I think Activision stands almost no chance of making nice with anyone involved in Rock Band.